Although summer for people means beach time fun, outdoor adventures and cookouts. Summertime for animal shelters in the United States means a marked rise in new animals living under their roof waiting for forever homes. The spring kittens and puppies become unwanted mouths to feed, people moving or taking long trips abroad surrender their pets and animals get that summer itch for freedom and begin to roam. In many shelters they combat overcrowding by regularly putting down animals. However, one group of shelters in Texas had a different idea and it turned into a big hit.
Last Saturday in Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas people camped out in tents overnight to get free admission for the first annual Empty the Shelter Day. This event gathered 33 local area animal shelters to come and bring their animals for adoption in order to combat the summer overcrowding. Surprisingly, the event was underpublicized. It was not advertised in the newspaper or on the news until after the fact, but rather pet owners came flocking purely from word of mouth.
In order to increase the number of adoptions, the shelters and event organizers agreed to waive adoption fees for the one-day event. This prompted hordes of pet-seekers to camp out the day before to get their pick of the litter...literally.
By the end of the day, municipal and non-profit animal shelters in the Dallas-Fort Worth area had adopted out a stunning 2,217 animals to new, loving home.
While the animal shelters lost precious funds that they use to support their organizations, this event wasn't about making money but rather it was about saving lives. For the first time in many of these animal's lives, they felt like rock stars among the crowds of thousands of people. For many, their fame resulted in them finding a great home.
After the success of this first Empty the Shelter day, hopefully shelters around the country can hold their own events to help combat their own overcrowding problems instead of just putting animals to sleep.